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Today’s the Day

March 12, 2002 Columns No Comments

Tuesday, March 12th, 2002

by Andrew Flynn

Today’s the Day

As Adam Shandler mentioned in his East Region Preview (at right), tonight marks the return of the 65 vs. 64 play-in game, featuring Alcorn State and Siena. Tonight’s contest will be held in Dayton, Ohio, and the winner will travel to Washington, DC to face off against No. 1 Maryland, basically in their home town. Much has been made of the hardships that these two teams face for only a fraction of the payoff – the flip-side of that coin being that one of the teams gets to win an NCAA Tournament game, and the odds are slightly better than having them go up against a 1-seed right out of the chute.

At least more people will watch it, as this year’s contest is on ESPN, whereas last year’s event between Northwestern State and Winthrop had to be viewed on TNN, which left most folks consulting their cable guides, wondering exactly how a network that was known as the home of the syndicated “Dukes of Hazzard” had been involved in March Madness. Most people watched NYPD Blue, anyway. The time has been bumped up 90 minutes as well.

Side Dishes

Get yer Brackets!: The Hoopville Tournament Challenge is in full swing. Hurry to get your bracket in prior to tonight’s play-in game (mentioned above). This is your opportunity to choose the winner of the Alcorn State – Siena game for 5 bonus points – which is better than a tiebreaker any day. Brackets will be open until the 7pm tip-off. After that, you are directed right to the first round matchup, with tonight’s winner facing off against Maryland.

More Coaches Going Fishing: Florida State fired head coach Steve Robinson after a 4-year tenure that was classified as a disappointment to the Tallahassee school. Robinson coached four straight losing seasons for the Seminoles, and had a 64-86 record overall. The lone bright spot was this season’s defeat of undefeated and Number 1 ranked Duke.

In the SWAC, Prairie View A&M announced that coach Elwood Plummer and his entire staff would not be retained for next season. Plummer had been the top dog for 18-years, with an overall record of 153-377 (ugh), and was 10-20 this season. The only highlight was in 1998, when he led his squad to a SWAC Championship and an NCAA berth, even though they were 13-17 overall.

No thanks: Georgetown, considered a bubble team for the NCAA’s, but a strong NIT candidate, turned down a NIT bid. The reasons are that Georgetown didn’t want to travel, and weren’t a high-enough caliber to land home-court throughout their bracket. It’s the first time since 1987 that a team has declined. The Hoyas end their 27-year postseason appearance streak with the announcement.

Nice Quotes: The Baseball Prospectus is not something that would be mentioned on a basketball website such as Hoopville, but Prospectus writer Joe Sheehan had a few good comments about the NCAA during his column of assorted ramblings:

“Somebody really ought to make a movie about Bobby Knight.”

“A six seed?!?! What, does Gonzaga need to schedule better? Perhaps they can get a home-and-home with the Sonics.”

Props to the boys at BP.

Tonight’s Menu:

• The aforementioned NCAA Play-In Game. See above if this is news to you.

The NIT gets started tonight with both Opening Round and First Round action. How did they swing this? By expanding the field to 40 (from 32). It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.

• Opening Round games include Princeton at Louisville and Arizona State at UNLV.

• First Round games include St. Joe’s at George Mason, South Florida at Ball State, and Montana State at Utah State.

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